Irresistible Grace

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by a, Jun 2, 2004.

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  1. a

    a Puritan Board Freshman

    pardon my ignorance on the topic, but i am quite uneducated on reformed theology...


    my original impression of Irresistible Grace was more of an "offer you can't refuse" - "too good to be true" - "too good to pass up"


    but after reading chapter one of James White's [i:46d4f507c1]The Potter's Freedom[/i:46d4f507c1], my perception of Irresistible Grace seems it might be a little off or a bit shallow.


    [quote:46d4f507c1]
    [b:46d4f507c1]White says on page 40:[/b:46d4f507c1]

    "I = Irresistible Grace: This is the belief that God is able to raise the spiritually dead sinner to life. This is an act of efficient grace. When God chooses to bring one of His elect to spiritual life, it is an act similar to when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead: just as Lazarus was incapable of resisting the power of Christ in raising him from the dead, so too the dead sinner is incapable of resisting the power of God that raises him to spiritual life. This is not to say that men have not resisted God's grace. This doctrine speaks specifically to the grace that brings regeneration, not to individual acts of sin committed by believers or unbelievers."
    [/quote:46d4f507c1]



    In this perspective, Lazarus was basically unaware of the goings on until after the fact that he was alive again. (though Scripture doesn't tell what his awareness was - God could have explained the whole plan to him while he was dead for all we know... but I would still suspect that Lazarus wouldn't have had any say in the matter...)

    But this perspective makes good sense in that - a dead sinner is incapable and even unaware of God's work until after it has happened and his eyes are able to "see" the results.

    Does this oppose the idea of a person being aware of the gracious regeneration "offer", and being so overwhelmed by such a great offer, that they can do nothing but accept?


    Any expounding/clarification would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    [quote:db613b1464][i:db613b1464]Originally posted by ace[/i:db613b1464]
    But this perspective makes good sense in that - a dead sinner is incapable and even unaware of God's work until after it has happened and his eyes are able to "see" the results.

    Does this oppose the idea of a person being aware of the gracious regeneration "offer", and being so overwhelmed by such a great offer, that they can do nothing but accept?[/quote:db613b1464]

    I would say yes, the biblical doctrine of Irresistible Grace (which I, with Sproul, prefer to call Effectual Grace) as paralleled with the Lazarus example and the "raising the unaware dead" principle, does [i:db613b1464]not[/i:db613b1464] allow for the concept of a regeneration "offer" that is intrinsically "too good to refuse" every time. The problem with that paradigm is that it still makes regeneration theoretically dependant upon man's acceptance of it, which he cannot do while he is dead in sin, because the very ways of God are foolishness to him (1 Cor. 1:18), and thus would never be "too good to accept" until [i:db613b1464]after[/i:db613b1464] the regeneration has already taken place.

    That being said, I do think, however, that you can view the offer of [i:db613b1464]salvation[/i:db613b1464] as being of a "too good to refuse" nature to some extent--too good to refuse, precisely because of the person's newly regenerate nature. So all in all, the regeneration is absolutely in [i:db613b1464]no way[/i:db613b1464] dependant upon man's understanding or acceptance of it, but once they are regenerate, the offer of salvation and will then naturally always be intrinsically "too good to refuse." Am I being clear?

    In Christ,

    Chris
     
  3. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    [quote:146ffe0cde][i:146ffe0cde]Originally posted by ace[/i:146ffe0cde]
    pardon my ignorance on the topic, but i am quite uneducated on reformed theology...


    my original impression of Irresistible Grace was more of an "offer you can't refuse" - "too good to be true" - "too good to pass up"


    but after reading chapter one of James White's [i:146ffe0cde]The Potter's Freedom[/i:146ffe0cde], my perception of Irresistible Grace seems it might be a little off or a bit shallow.


    [quote:146ffe0cde]
    [b:146ffe0cde]White says on page 40:[/b:146ffe0cde]

    "I = Irresistible Grace: This is the belief that God is able to raise the spiritually dead sinner to life. This is an act of efficient grace. When God chooses to bring one of His elect to spiritual life, it is an act similar to when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead: just as Lazarus was incapable of resisting the power of Christ in raising him from the dead, so too the dead sinner is incapable of resisting the power of God that raises him to spiritual life. This is not to say that men have not resisted God's grace. This doctrine speaks specifically to the grace that brings regeneration, not to individual acts of sin committed by believers or unbelievers."
    [/quote:146ffe0cde]



    In this perspective, Lazarus was basically unaware of the goings on until after the fact that he was alive again. (though Scripture doesn't tell what his awareness was - God could have explained the whole plan to him while he was dead for all we know... but I would still suspect that Lazarus wouldn't have had any say in the matter...)

    But this perspective makes good sense in that - a dead sinner is incapable and even unaware of God's work until after it has happened and his eyes are able to "see" the results.

    Does this oppose the idea of a person being aware of the gracious regeneration "offer", and being so overwhelmed by such a great offer, that they can do nothing but accept?


    Any expounding/clarification would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks! [/quote:146ffe0cde]

    Yes, Ace this certainly opposes the idea that regeneration is an offer. Christ says to Nicodemas in John 3:14 that the spirit goes where he wills. It is the spirit that takes dead men and makes them alive. We must be born again to have a sense of our sins and be brought to repentence. It is God transforming our heart into good soil. A new heart is not hostile to the gospel because the new heart allows us to see the sin and finds refuge in Jesus.

    irresistible Grace is transforming grace. It is the Amazing Grace that is described in the old hymn.

    "Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear
    And Grace that fear relieved."

    We were dead in out trespasses Eph 2:1. As a result of the fall, hostile to God. "No one seeks for God, together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." It takes more than a "gracious" call to turn from our preoccupation with idols. It takes God renewing us, regenerating us. It takes resuscitation! This is what God's grace does for the elect. It makes them inwardly his own. The elect are a humanity in the process of restoration. We are essentially going back to the state of Eden and then beyond even that lesser glory, towads the promise of eternal life.
     
  4. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    [quote:951ab6861c][i:951ab6861c]Originally posted by Me Died Blue[/i:951ab6861c]

    That being said, I do think, however, that you can view the offer of [i:951ab6861c]salvation[/i:951ab6861c] as being of a "too good to refuse" nature to some extent--too good to refuse, precisely because of the person's newly regenerate nature. So all in all, the regeneration is absolutely in [i:951ab6861c]no way[/i:951ab6861c] dependant upon man's understanding or acceptance of it, but once they are regenerate, the offer of salvation and will then naturally always be intrinsically "too good to refuse." Am I being clear?

    In Christ,

    Chris [/quote:951ab6861c]

    This is good, except I would add that "the gospel is [i:951ab6861c]morally[/i:951ab6861c] too good to refuse!"
     
  5. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    [quote:772f729000][i:772f729000]Originally posted by Ianterrell[/i:772f729000]
    [quote:772f729000][i:772f729000]Originally posted by Me Died Blue[/i:772f729000]

    That being said, I do think, however, that you can view the offer of [i:772f729000]salvation[/i:772f729000] as being of a "too good to refuse" nature to some extent--too good to refuse, precisely because of the person's newly regenerate nature. So all in all, the regeneration is absolutely in [i:772f729000]no way[/i:772f729000] dependant upon man's understanding or acceptance of it, but once they are regenerate, the offer of salvation and will then naturally always be intrinsically "too good to refuse." Am I being clear?

    In Christ,

    Chris [/quote:772f729000]

    This is good, except I would add that "the gospel is [i:772f729000]morally[/i:772f729000] too good to refuse!" [/quote:772f729000]

    Agreed.
     
  6. a

    a Puritan Board Freshman

    thank you all for your explanations...

    what a wonderful principle!
     
  7. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    [quote:9a902b2bfe][i:9a902b2bfe]Originally posted by ace[/i:9a902b2bfe]
    what a wonderful principle! [/quote:9a902b2bfe]

    Indeed! That is how I felt about every part of the Gospel I could think of once I [i:9a902b2bfe]really[/i:9a902b2bfe] began seeing all the doctrines of grace for everything they really are.

    In Christ,

    Chris
     
  8. a

    a Puritan Board Freshman

    [quote:9c1202f4af][i:9c1202f4af]Originally posted by Me Died Blue[/i:9c1202f4af]
    [quote:9c1202f4af][i:9c1202f4af]Originally posted by ace[/i:9c1202f4af]
    what a wonderful principle! [/quote:9c1202f4af]

    Indeed! That is how I felt about every part of the Gospel I could think of once I [i:9c1202f4af]really[/i:9c1202f4af] began seeing all the doctrines of grace for everything they really are.

    In Christ,

    Chris [/quote:9c1202f4af]


    so true...
    as i mentioned, i'm new to the reformed doctrines... but before, i was vastly uneducated on what i believed... i was doctrinated, but not educated... (please not that i blame no one but myself for not know what is actually in scripture)

    but when introduced to reformed theology, the scriptures made a lot more sense to me... things fit together without having to force them to... and it made reading scripture a lot more fruitful for reading...

    i know the 5 pts of Clv are not the only things to study in scripture, but they are really exciting for me right now... i can only imagine i'll be studying these specific doctrines for quite a while!
     
  9. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    [quote:0bbe58bcdd][i:0bbe58bcdd]Originally posted by ace[/i:0bbe58bcdd]
    i know the 5 pts of Clv are not the only things to study in scripture, but they are really exciting for me right now... i can only imagine i'll be studying these specific doctrines for quite a while! [/quote:0bbe58bcdd]

    I can [i:0bbe58bcdd]totally[/i:0bbe58bcdd] relate to that, Ace. I was first persuaded of the doctrines of grace a little less than two years ago. At this point, I basically enjoy reading about all topics relevant to Reformed theology equally. But after I first discovered the doctrines of grace, I was reading absolutely everything I could get my hands on that related to them! I focused on them far above any other doctrine for quite some time, too! It's neat to watch other people go through the same neat experience I went through not too long ago. God bless!

    In Christ,

    Chris
     
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